Posts Tagged ‘Brill’

King Henry III’s Fine Roll Blog

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Easter in this year, 2011, is unusually late, falling on 24 April.  There were in fact only two years in the  reign of Henry III when Easter was on 24  April, and in which, therefore,  the whole calendar was exactly the same as it is in 2011,  with each day of the month falling on the same day of the week.   These years were 1261 and 1272. 1272 was, of course, the last year of Henry’s reign and he did not reach its end, dying on 16 November.  I have decided therefore, in starting Henry III’s fine rolls blog, to take the year 1261, a very dramatic one in which he threw off the controls imposed on him by the Provisions of Oxford in 1258.

Between Sunday 27 March and Saturday 3 April, Henry III was at the Tower of London, a place where normally he would never live, much preferring his palace at Westminster.  Having at the start of the year, escaped from the ruling council imposed in 1258 and recovered control over his seal, he had been based at the Tower since February, the great fortress providing  a secure base from which he could defy the gathering opposition to his demarche. Letters Henry wrote in this week showed his anxieties. He cautioned his Poitevin half brother, William de Valence, expelled in 1258, against returning to England, doubtless fearing the storm it would provoke, and also expressed his hope that the arbitration of the king of France might settle his quarrels with Simon de Montfort. The  fine rolls of this week, however, suggest a different picture, that of business as usual.  Henry (or his ministers) issued orders about the running of two royal manors, Brill in Oxfordshire and Havering in Essex. The money arising from Brill  was to be sent to the Exchequer at Westminster, so clearly this was still seen as a safe place for the king’s money, even if he himself was at the Tower.   There were also twenty individuals who bought writs from the chancery to progress the legal actions in which they were involved. Clearly they were perfectly prepared to enter the Tower of London to get these.